One of Britain’s last remaining D-Day veterans dies aged 100: Soldier who took part in the heroic invasion of Normandy during World War II has passed away, his family reveals
- Joe Cattini was on the beaches of northern France as part of an invasion force
Joe Cattini, one of Britain’s last remaining D-Day veterans, who took part in the heroic invasion of Normandy during World War II, has died aged 100.
His granddaughter Sarah Burr announced in a statement that her “beloved grandfather” passed away on Tuesday evening, April 18.
She wrote, “A life so well lived. One of the last D-Day veterans left. We are so proud of him and loved him so much. The past nine years since D-Day 70 have been some of the happiest of his life.
“From (like most of his generation) never really speaking about his war experiences to sharing it with so many others over the years has been so important to him.”
It is clear that there are still about half a dozen British veterans who fought on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Mr Cattini was only 21 at the time.
Joe Cattini, one of Britain’s last remaining D-Day veterans, who took part in the heroic invasion of Normandy during World War II, has died aged 100 (pictured last November)
About 10,000 servicemen, including 2,700 British soldiers, 946 Canadians and 6,600 American soldiers, died in the Normandy landings.
The invasion force led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation, says the Spirit of Normandy Trust.
Mr. Cattini drove onto Gold Beach on D-Day in a three-ton ammunition truck loaded with 25-pound shells and dozens of jerry cans of gasoline.
The great-grandfather, from Southampton, was in hospital with Covid for five days in August 2021.
After learning why he was feeling sick, his indomitable spirit is so strong that he told his daughter Fran Bradshaw, “Thank God I’m not getting old – it’s just Covid.”
The British Normandy Memorial was officially opened on June 6, 2021 – the day 77 years after D-Day – but was only visited by the old soldiers and sailors in October of that year due to travel restrictions.
Mr Cattini said at the time: “I am very excited to see the monument. I felt sorry for the young infantry that landed on the beaches on D-Day.
“I think of those who didn’t come back – they are the heroes, the ones who gave their lives. I don’t consider myself a hero – I was lucky, I had a good guardian angel who helped me through the war.’
Talking to the BBC in June 2019 to celebrate the 70th anniversary, Mr Cattini described the horrific scene he witnessed.
“I landed here at 10am on D-Day and the beach was littered with dead, wounded, prisoners of war and destroyed vehicles and craft,” he said.
“There were things floating in the water that you don’t want to remember. Now it’s so peaceful and quiet that you feel more at ease.’
Mr Cattini turned 100 on January 17, 2023 and received a birthday card from the King.
Born Alberto Giuseppe Antonio Cattini, ‘Joe’ was the eldest of four boys and grew up in Hampstead, North London.
Britain’s Normandy Memorial wrote of his upbringing, noting that he served five years from 1941.
He was a Bombardier in the 86th Field Regiment RA of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry when he landed on Gold Beach on D-Day.